Iceland’s Blue Lagoon: where a warm spot isn’t a bad thing

When you’re backpacking, and particularly CouchSurfing, small things become luxuries. A bed. A meal in a café or restaurant. Sleeping in. Clean clothes. So to experience something like the Blue Lagoon is, well, wow. 

The Blue Lagoon is THE attraction in Reykjavik. Try and find a visitor to the city that doesn’t go there. It’s a gorgeous geo-thermal pool about 30-minutes from the city. Stunningly blue, steaming and oh so luxurious.

I arrive by bus, along with 90% of the visitors. The Blue Lagoon isn’t a natural geo-thermal spring; the water comes from the geo-thermal power plant next door. Actually the view upon arrival is anything but impressive: This giant plant, steam pouring from its chimneys and the barren volcanic landscape. Inside, it’s a different story. Everything is immaculate and shiny and sparkling.

I pay downstairs and am given a wrist band for entry. This will give me access to a locker and allow me to buy drinks and food so I don’t have to carry cash. They have a 5000ISK limit and you settle the bill when you leave. I change in the locker rooms and shower (without my swimmers, it’s the rules) and cover my hair in conditioner. I’ve been warned (Thanks Adventurous Kate) to protect my hair as much as possible and try my darndest not to let it get wet. Then it’s off to the water.

The Blue Lagoon is an incredible sight: This blue, blue steaming water and all these little heads bobbing out of it. I leave my towel and camera by the side and step in. For the next two and half hours I soak all my aches away. Natalie, a British lass staying at the same hostel as me, and I move around the pool in search of different temperatures. We put silica mud on our face, leave it to dry then rinse it off. We should look years younger. There is a swim-up kiosk where we get ice cream and beer and before we know it, hours have gone by.

As we get out about 5pm it’s starting to fill up – particularly near the bar. Either people coming after work or after other tours. There are several packages where you can visit the lagoon on your way to or from the airport or at the end of other tours. The Lagoon is set up so you could turn up completely unprepared and have everything you need. There is luggage storage. You can hire towels and swim suits and the change rooms have conditioner and shower gel, hairdryers and plastic bags for your wet swimmers. There are even cotton balls and buds. Downstairs I buy postcards AND stamps. These people think of everything.

Somehow doing nothing is quite exhausting. Both Natalie and I doze off on the bus back. I also discover the next day I’m a little sunburnt, largely I suspect from the reflection from the water.

Entry to the lagoon, with a towel rental, is 40 Euro (5600ISK) plus it was about 2000ISK for the bus there. There are other geothermal pools in Reykjavik that are much, much cheaper and easier to get to so you could have a similar experience on a budget.

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